Huawei’s Wang Tao outlines roadmap to drive Ultra-Broadband 5.5G

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Ultra-broadband (UBB) 5.5G will be a key milestone on the path to the intelligent world of 2030. To achieve this, Ultra Broadband needs to evolve and attain higher capabilities, said Wang Tao, Executive Director of the Board, Chairman of ICT Infrastructure Managing Board, Huawei, during a keynote, “Stride to Ultra-Broadband 5.5G” at Ultra-Broadband Forum 2022, Bangkok, Oct 27-28.

It is estimated that by 2030, home broadband will make the leap from 1Gbps to 10Gbps, with FTTH penetration touching 91 percent. Gigabit and 10 gigabit networks will account for 55 percent and 23 percent of all home broadband networks respectively during this period. Smart devices connected to home networks will rise to 150-200 devices per household from the current 5-20 devices.

Large campuses and SMEs will require Gbps capabilities to deliver new-age applications. Large campuses will rely more on immersive interaction and collaboration tools, which will demand WiFi networks with several 10 Gbps. They will also run intelligent applications like 24/7 services, intelligent access controls, and robotics, which will necessitate intelligent network operations and management.  SMEs, on the other hand, will need lightweight network solutions and one-stop network services. This is an opportunity for operators to extend private line service to carrier-grade fiber-connect Wi-Fi intranet for SMEs, which can also be maintained remotely.

Industrial Internet is an emerging opportunity for operators. By 2030, almost 90 percent of industrial campus equipment will be connected via wireless networks. Six-nine reliability will also be needed in more scenarios to ensure service continuity. Applications such as automated industrial control will largely depend on high-definition machine vision and AI-assisted computing. This means individual production lines will require 10 Gbps bandwidth and lower than 1 millisecond latency.

With enterprises moving their production increasingly to the cloud, multi-cloud strategies will gain relevance. Future enterprises will, on average, need to connect to more than five clouds. These services will demand networks with capabilities such as dynamic routing to process latency-critical computing in the nearest data center while transferring high-carbon-emission computing to low carbon data centers. Thus, it becomes important for operators and industrial campuses to extend their collaboration from private lines to campus networks and on to cloud data centers.

Wang Tao also outlined three emerging trends which will drive 10 times increase each in capacity, energy efficiency and O&M efficiency, respectively.

The first, the proportion of FMC operators will increase from 48 percent to 70 percent, making the bandwidth requirement of 5.5G and F5.5G converged access sites to exceed 100 Gbps. Second, green technologies, like FTTH, all-optical switching, multi-service routers, and intelligent power management, will make entire networks 10 times more energy efficient. Optical access network will reduce 80 percent of energy consumption to 6 Watt/TB, optical transport networks consume 90 percent less energy to 32 Watt/TB, and IP routers will use 70 percent less energy. Finally, networks will achieve L4 automation, with human-assisted, intelligent O&M becoming a reality. A 10-fold increase in capacity and experience improvement for such networks will reduce the O&M cost proportionally.

To achieve these goals, industry players, including standards organizations, regulators, operators, and equipment vendors, will need to work together and take the following four steps, said Wang.

The first step will be to define and release next-gen standards as soon as possible. Standards organizations, particularly the ITU and ETSI, have made significant strides in the development of key F5.5G technologies. ETSI has released a White Paper titled, ‘Fixed 5th Generation Advanced and Beyond,’ in September. ETSI began leading the standardization for F5G Advanced with Release 3, focusing on home area network architectures, green network standards, autonomous driving optical networks, and use cases for industrial optical networks. In Releases 4 and 5, smart home use cases and optical fiber sensing will be addressed.

IETF, IEEE, and other standards organizations are working together to accelerate this standardization work. With these, Net5.5G will achieve even larger bandwidth and realize flexible end-to-end SRv6 optimization by 2023. And by 2024 or 2025, IP networks will be able to sense computing power and applications, delivering more deterministic network experiences and service guarantee for more industrial scenarios. To complement these efforts, OMDIA is publishing a Net5.5G white paper at UBBF.

Secondly, Huawei calls for new breakthroughs in fibre technologies. For optical access, 50G PON needs to be compatible with operator’s existing ODN and PON networks. In addition, a combination of GPON, 10G PON, and 50G PON will support smooth upgrade for current PON networks, Wang said. Huawei also proposes the C-WAN architecture on FTTR networks to support stable Gbps in homes and cut roaming handover times to less than 20 milliseconds.

To improve spectrum availability for 400G backbone WDM networks, Huawei suggests Super C plus Super L amplifiers doped with new elements. This will increase the number of available wavelengths by 25 percent and single-fibre transmission capacity to 100T. Also, the use of wavelength pooling WDM technology will help improve wavelength utilization and flexibility for metro WDM by allowing flexible sharing of metro wavelengths across multiple ring networks, greatly reducing TCO, and supporting WDM deployment to access sites.

In campus network scenarios, Wi-Fi 7 will use technologies such as CO-SR and CO-OFDMA to improve the collaboration between different APs. Technologies like UL OFDMA and UL MU-MIMO will therefore be needed to improve Wi-Fi connection reliability. Enterprises will also need IP networks that can sense services and dynamically adjust routes to support their multi-cloud strategies. APN6 and SRv6 can help here by sensing application requirements, managing access policies, and dynamically configuring cloud resources. Meanwhile DIP technologies can be used to deliver deterministic experiences for industrial production lines. The periodic scheduling mechanism will help reduce the end-to-end jitter on IP networks to less than 20 microseconds and ensure high-quality connections for production line control.

Third, governments and regulators need to implement more effective policies to accelerate the adoption of new standards and technologies on live networks. Clear fiber deployment policies for FTTH will speed up national broadband rollout and futuristic construction standards will help bring fiber to every room at home. Meanwhile operators need to define target network architectures for 2025 and 2030. They also need to accelerate the rollout of FTTH and FTTR networks, the deployment of metro WDM to access sites, the upgrade from IP networks to SRv6 networks, and the deployment of 400G and 800G for both transmission and IP networks.

Finally, industry players and ecosystem partners need to work together to make the most of 5.5G to achieve ultra-broadband services and support new high-potential applications such as metaverse games and real-time interaction on 10 Gbps home networks. Collaboration will also be integral in exploring new campus scenarios such as immersive offices and robot-assisted offices. The next-gen services like one-stop Wi-Fi networks will also help SMEs boost efficiency and reduce costs. Telecom industry needs to continue working on delivering deterministic experience and flexible routing for industrial Internet. This can be achieved by working with industrial Internet companies to incubate applications stemming from automated industrial control and enterprise connectivity to multiple clouds.